Instead of trying to keep his ambitious staffers from free-lancing at the office, Jim Mullen gives them free run of the Wenham, Mass., advertising agency that bears his name after the firm has closed up for the day.

For the cost of a few office supplies, it's a policy that can curb potential office abuse. What's more, he figures, "the more respectfully we treat our employees, the more effective they will be with our clients."

Caveats of the freelance policy include that employees do no work on their own for Mullen clients and competitors, and that they won't dip into pricey supplies without reimbursing the company.

"Every now and again a person may need extra money, owe someone a favor, or do pro bono work," Mullen observes. "That's perfectly understandable. Their work here must come first, but I'm not going to get on the bad side of my employees to save a couple bucks on supplies."